Monday, November 03, 2014

Halloween 2014 After-Action Report

This year’s Halloween season was instructive and humbling. Not great, not awful. I’ve leveled up in my approach, so that’s something.

First and foremost, I’ve learned to stop feeling obligated to ritual. Ritual can be grounding, but I’ve found myself procrastinating when it comes to reading the Sacred Texts (Bradbury, Poe, et al.), or watching the movies, even revising my own dark fiction to run in the blog. With the same bitterness some people feel towards Christmas, I have on occasion found myself wishing Halloween was over with already. 

This is, of course, the rankest blasphemy, and much self-loathing ensues. So when I felt the resentment building this year, I reminded myself that I was obligated to nothing more than bathing, eating, sleeping, and paying the bills. Beyond that, as thou wouldst harm none, let “do as thy will” be the whole of the law. That’s the true pagan spirit of Halloween. Weird how I had to give myself permission to enjoy myself, but this is how the bats in my belfry roll. It took long enough, but I’ve learned how to work around myself.

Thank goodness I have a wife to do things
like this. We were the only house on our street
street decorated thus.
Decorating my office also took more time than I would have liked, but I had the orange lights wrapped around the curtain rod over the window, all the kitschy-spooky doo-dads spread across my bookshelves, and even a glow-in-the dark bucket of candy in time for Friday night. I produced a nice burst of blog posts towards the end of the month, but I’m especially proud of all the walking through the greenbelts that I treated myself to, mentally charting the progress of the leaves as they bloomed in golds and reds, before blowing from the trees. I made my peace with the fact that, if everything goes right, I won’t see these particular oaks and aspens again, ever. 

Friday night, I took care of what may be our last bunch of trick-or-treaters in . I’ll miss the small children we’ve been seeing over the past four years or so—I’m heartened to know we have lots of young couples with children here, as opposed to cranky middle-aged types like me. 

He’s still out there as I write this.
I’ve come a long way in regards to not losing my composure thinking about All Those Good Times Gone That Are Never Coming Back. I finally feel as if I’ve put 2007, the Last Great Trick or Treating Year (and my Last Best Birthday, and Last Best Christmas), safely to rest. It was a great time—maybe the greatest that will ever be—but that was then. Times change, and that’s not always a bad thing. Children grow, or they die. Mine grew up. I’m just now taking the hint to do the same.

It was a good Halloween, one that gets better and better, the more I think about it. Not that I’ve got much more time to think about it. We’ve got a nice, long stretch to Thanksgiving, but there’s much to do before we put this year to bed.